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Yeast Unrelated to Pustular Condition in Newborns

Turkish study finds no association between Malassezia and neonatal cephalic pustulosis

THURSDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Colonization of newborns' skin with Malassezia yeast is common after the first week of life, and the yeast does not appear to be correlated with the development of neonatal cephalic pustulosis, according to research published in the December issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Meltem Ayhan, M.D., of Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey, and colleagues analyzed data from 104 healthy newborns. The infants were examined between 24 and 72 hours after birth, and researchers took samples for Malassezia colonization from their cheeks and scalps. The researchers contacted the mothers weekly to ask about the appearance of lesions, and any baby with a pustular lesion was examined. The rest were invited for a second examination between 2 and 4 weeks after birth.

The investigators found Malassezia colonization in 5 percent of infants in the first week, and 30 percent at 2 to 4 weeks of age. Twenty-six infants were diagnosed with neonatal cephalic pustulosis during follow-up. The researchers found no correlation between the severity of the condition and Malassezia isolation, and colonization was lower in affected infants than in infants without pustulosis (20.8 percent versus 37 percent).

"Our opinion is that Malassezia is neither a direct causative factor of neonatal cephalic pustulosis, nor is Malassezia colonization related to the development or clinical stage of the disease," the authors write. But more study is needed, they add.

The study was supported by the Nobel and Ilsan Iltas drug companies.

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